No adventurer exists in a vacuum. Adventurers have families, lovers, bosom companions, and colleagues. A lot of players are tempted to leave this vague as unless the DM specifically asks for it, it has very little bearing on the campaign itself. Related to the Advantage system but separate is the Associates System. This is a mechanical way to illustrate the bonds and relationships PCs have forged in their backstory. There are three levels to a character’s associates: Allies, Contacts, and Favors. All characters are given 5 points to spend on these. You are free to choose more, but there is no mechanic benefit for these associates.
Allies are people with class levels or with enough social pull that they can potentially have a big impact on your character. Maybe you served at the Church of the Lightbearer and gained the favor of its High Priest. Or perhaps you became childhood friends who is now a Boss to the Araza Family. They generally will not do anything that violate their Loyalties, but other than that they will go at great lengths to help you. Allies are not commonly ‘used up’ like the other levels but the more often a player uses this ally the less they will do to help you. Alternatively at a GM’s discretion, they can also expect certain things to be done in return for their actions or complications for your character will arise due to your allegiance to this person. There is no free lunch, after all. Allies cost 2 or 3 points depending on their rank and usefulness.
Contacts are characters who either well connected socially or an expert in their field. Sometimes, a very specific knowledge is not possessed by anyone in the party. Or maybe the player wishes to gather information about a particular person or group. Contacts can be the magical scribe in your hometown who is an expert in Abyssal, the town gossip who reports the goings on of the peculiar Constables, or the Society Alchemist who knows what the latest discovery is. Contacts will never put themselves at risk for a player, but is a potential wealth of information and gives discounts on some services or bonuses to knowledge skills. Contacts will only help you so often. They are giving you information after all. The GM will warn you when you are getting close to depleting your contact. Certain quests or jobs will either maintain the contacts you already have or help you gain new ones. You don’t save the life of a Tharsamundan Noble without gaining something in return. Contacts cost 1 Point.
Favors are one-time uses of the both above. Some people offer you a ‘favor’ instead of a material reward. This can be small or great, and do not have to be decided on character creation. However, the person who owes you the favor does have to be chosen on the gain of this favor. The player ought to have at least a basic explanation as to how this person owes the character a favor (this is especially true for the upper echelons of society such as a Princess of Altenore or an Officer of the OSA). The favor must be something that is reasonably in their power to accomplish. Once used, you never get another favor from this character. Like contacts, they can be gained through play of campaign or arc completion. A favor from the right person can get you more than riches. Favors cost 3 for 1 Point.